There are 650 muscles in the human body, and the muscles in your back and neck are some of the most important.
Those muscles help support your posture, allow you to move freely from your core, and give you the movement you need to look around and react to your environment.
If you want to keep these muscles strong and avoid back and neck pain, it pays to stretch every day. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time – you can complete these in only 15 minutes.
Here are five stretches that will help keep your back and neck limber!
Lower Back: Knee to Chest Stretch
Starting at the bottom, the lower back can be a challenge to stretch sometimes. Fortunately, the knee to chest stretch is easy to do.
You lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Pull your right knee up to your chest. Hold the stretch for five seconds. Then, put your right leg back down, and pull your left knee to your chest. Hold for five seconds.
This stretch is great for getting the tension out of your lower back, helping you avoid back and neck pain.
Mid-Back: The Cat-Cow
This exercise has an odd name, but it’s simple to do. Simply get on your hands and knees on the floor, and then lift your belly button up toward your spine. Your spine will arch upward. This is the “cat” position.
Next, drop your stomach down and pull your shoulders up, which will create a dip in your back. This is the “cow” position.
Hold each position for five seconds. You may want to do this two or three times. This encourages flexibility and builds core muscles, which goes a long way to preventing back and neck pain!
Upper Back: Arm Across the Chest
This back stretch can be done from a seated position. Simply take your left arm and stretch it across your chest to the right. Use your right hand to press on your left upper arm to deepen the stretch. Hold for five seconds.
Repeat this process on the other side to stretch the other part of your upper back. You might also enjoy lacing your fingers together with your palms facing away from you. Press your palms away from you, stretching your upper back.
Neck and Shoulders: Shoulder Rolls
As you work your way up, you’ll notice less tension in your back. It’s time to start stretching your neck to avoid neck pain as well!
Shoulder rolls are a great start. Simply roll your shoulders forward, up, back, and down in a fluid motion. This loosens muscles in your shoulders, upper back, and neck.
If you spend a lot of time at a computer, you probably have tension in your neck. Doing shoulder rolls every day goes a long way to helping you avoid pain!
Avoiding Neck Pain: The Front-Back-Side-to-Side Stretch
Neck circles are not recommended because they can compress nerves. Moving in a full circle is not a natural movement for the head and neck, and can actually cause pain instead of preventing it.
Instead, focus on natural movements by stretching your neck forward, then back, and then tipping your head to the left and the right. Hold each stretch for five seconds.
When you do each of the exercises every day, you’ll go a long way to preventing back and neck pain. If you are still struggling, we’re here for you. Contact us for an appointment today!